$500.00* Flat Fee Federal Trademark Registation

Copyrights & Trademarks

Flat-Fee Trademark Registration

For a flat fee of $500.00*, I will perform the following trademark registration services:

  • I will perform a comprehensive trademark search to determine if there are any trademarks that may be similar to yours.
  • I will provide you with my opinion regarding the strength of your trademark and whether it is likely to be accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).
  • I will prepare and file the federal trademark application with the USPTO.

* The $500.00 flat fee does not include the required federal filing fee.

Contact me today to discuss how we can help you with your trademark search and registration.

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If you are interested in working with us or learning more about us, give us a call at 215-914-6880 or send us an email.

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Enforcing Trademark Rights

You’ve taken the necessary steps to properly register a trademark, but now someone is using it without your permission. This can have significant negative consequences for the success of your business and/or product. As a result, understanding the ways in which trademark rights can be protected is important to your business. What is a Trademark? Under federal law, a trademark is any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof used in commerce to identify or distinguish goods from those manufactured or sold by others. A service mark is the same as a trademark, but is used to distinguish services, as opposed to goods. Protecting Trademark The ability to stop someone from using a trademark, or one that is so similar that it is confusing, depends on the following factors: Whether the trademark is being used by the other person (or business) for competing goods or services; The likelihood that consumers will be confused by the dual use of the trademark; and Whether the trademark is being used in the same part of the country or is being used for related goods or services (goods or services that will likely be noticed by the same consumers). In order to prevent someone else from using the trademark, the trademark owner must be actively using the mark. In this context, “using” is defined as putting it to work in the marketplace to identify goods or services. However, this does not mean that the goods or services need to be actually sold.  Rather, they only need to be offered to the public. Under Pennsylvania law, the owner of a famous mark... read more

Use Caution When Firing an Employee

Unfortunately, if you own your own business, it is most likely inevitable that the time will come when you are faced with firing an employee. Deciding to terminate the employment relationship can be a difficult one, but also critical in helping your company be as successful as possible. When going through the process of firing an employee, there are several important considerations to be aware of. Restrictions on Firing Employee Under most private-sector employment relationships, the employment is considered at-will. This means that the employment relationship can end without any justification and at the will of either party. As a result, the employment relationship can end for any or no reason. For example, an employer could fire an employee because that employee stole something from the business. But, an employer could also fire an employee simply because he or she desires to end the relationship. However, if the employee agreed to an employment contract, that contract may have eliminated the at-will nature of the employment relationship.   Additionally, it is unlawful for an employer to fire an employee: Who serves on or testifies before a wage board; Refuses to submit to a polygraph test; For fulfilling a jury duty obligation; For union activity; For retaliation because the employee filed a wage complaint; For reporting wrongdoing by the employer; In a manner that violates the protections for veterans and reservists; or Who has had wages withheld to fulfill a child support obligation. Further, it is illegal to fire an employee for a discriminatory reason, such as because of the employee’s: Race; Ethnic background; Religion; Age; Sex; or Disability. If an... read more

Dissolving an LLC

For whatever reason, you may find yourself in the position of needing to end your limited liability company (LLC). It is important to realize that it is not as simple as just closing the door and walking away. Just as there was a formal process for forming the LLC, there are formal procedures that must be taken to end the LLC. Dissolution The process of ending a business is called dissolution, which officially ends the existence of the entity. It is important to complete this process because it takes the business out of the reach of creditors. While the focus here is voluntary dissolution, it is possible for a business to be involuntarily dissolved through a court order. In order to dissolve, the LLC must obtain clearance from the Department of Revenue (DOR) and the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). Before this clearance is granted, all required state taxes must be paid. LLCs must file DOR Form REV-181 (Application for Tax Clearance Certificate) with both the DOR and DLI. For most LLCs, dissolution requires a vote of all members. Unless specifically prohibited by the formational documents, under the Pennsylvania LLC Act (Act), dissolution may be accomplished by a unanimous written agreement or consent of all LLC members. The decision to dissolve should be recorded in the official minutes of the dissolution meeting or on a written consent form. The LLC will continue even after receiving tax clearance and going through dissolution. This is because the LLC still has certain matters that need to be resolved. The process of winding up takes care of these final matters, which, under... read more

Specific Performance of a Contract

For most instances of a breach of a contract, damages are sought as a remedy. Usually, the payment of money is sufficient for the person harmed by the breach. However, this is not always the case. If this is true, a special remedy known as specific performance may be ordered by the court. Existence and Breach of Contract In order for specific performance to be possible, it must be shown that a valid contract was entered into and that there was a breach of that contract. Contracts do not need to be in writing to be enforceable, though it is usually advisable to form written contracts, particularly when it comes to business-related matters. In order to establish the existence of a contract, the following must be proven: Both parties demonstrated an intent to be bound by the terms of the agreement; The terms were sufficiently definite to be specifically enforced; and Both parties received consideration. A breach of contract may occur if one party does not perform on time, does not perform according to the terms of the agreement, or fails to perform altogether. The breach must also be material. The court examines several factors in determining whether a breach is material, including the following: The extent the non-breaching party will be deprived of a benefit reasonably expected; The extent to which the obligations of the contract have already been completed (if few or none of the obligations have been met, the more likely it is that the breach is material); and The extent to which the breaching party comported with the standards of good faith and fair dealing.... read more

Copyright Infringement

For writers, artists, and other creators, protection of their work is critical in achieving success. If people’s original, creative work is allowed to be copied and sold by others, the incentive to create diminishes. As a result, federal law provides protection for creators from copyright infringement. As a creator of original works, it is important to understand your rights when it comes to your creations. Basic Elements of Infringement There are two basic elements to demonstrate that copyright infringement has occurred. The first is that the plaintiff must allege and prove that he or she has ownership of a valid copyright. The clearest and best way to demonstrate this is through a certificate of registration issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) before publication or within five years after first publication. This certificate is prima facie evidence of the ownership and validity of a copyright. Prima facie evidence is a fact presumed to be true unless proven otherwise. Importantly, even if the presumption that comes with a certificate of registration is not available because the five years have already passed copyright owners of U.S. works must register before filing an infringement lawsuit. Therefore, it is often advisable for copyright owners to register, even if no infringement has occurred, in order to gain the benefits of the presumption of ownership and to avoid having to register later if infringement is suspected. The second element in an infringement case is that the plaintiff must prove that the defendant violated one of the exclusive rights reserved to the copyright owner. Under 17 U.S.C. §106, these rights include, but are... read more

Employee Time Off for Medical Reasons or Death in Family

One of the most important issues for employees is the time off that they are given in order to take care of medical issues or a death of a family member. This time off is considered particularly important because it often needed during a very sensitive period of a person’s life. While paid time off may not always be required to be granted by law, providing it can often be an effective way of fostering the goodwill of employees. Family Medical Leave Act Under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), certain employers are required to give qualified employees the ability to take an unpaid leave of absence for specific family and medical purposes. During this unpaid leave of absence, group health insurance continues for the employee as if he or she had not taken a leave of absence. Upon completion of the leave, the employee must be returned to the same position or one that is nearly identical. A position that is nearly identical is one with: Identical pay and benefits; The same shift or work schedule; A similar location or geographic proximity; and The same or similar duties, responsibilities, and status. The unpaid leave of absence may be for 12 workweeks in a 12-month period for the following purposes: Birth of a child and the care for a newborn within one year of birth; Care for an adopted child or a child under foster care within one year of the placement of the child with the employee; Care for a spouse, child, or parent with a serious health condition; An employee’s own serious health condition which causes the... read more

Employee Handbook

For all businesses, one of the most important items is the employee handbook. Employee handbooks are critical for the success of the business because they set out the company’s policies, procedures, and expectations. They also provide for a structured work environment, which helps the business run as efficiently and effectively as possible. The following describes some of the important provisions that should be included in employee handbooks. Defining Employees The handbook should contain definitions of all individuals who perform work for the company. This includes designating what constitutes an employee as opposed to an independent contractor. Whether a person performing work for the company is an employee or independent contractor has important tax and benefit implications. The employee definition section should not contain the word “permanent” in relation to employment. Compensation A section discussing the required deductions the company will make in relation to federal and state taxes should be included. The compensation section also addresses issues such as overtime pay, salary increases, bonuses and other benefits. Workweek In addition, the handbook should include a section that defines the workweek. This includes defining expected or core work hours and what days of the week work is or can be expected. This section also addresses issues like attendance, punctuality, the requirements for reporting absences, and the availability for flexible schedules or telecommuting. General Policies The daily management and operation is detailed in the general policies and procedures section of the handbook. This addresses issues related to employment policies, such as the company dress code, job classifications, transfers, and relocations. Leave Another section of the handbook should address issues related to... read more

Understanding the Different Business Formations

If you are considering starting your own business, a crucial step in that process is deciding what business formation your enterprise will be. The choice of a particular business formation will impact items like how the company is taxed and potential personal liability for company obligations. Choosing the right formation at the outset can increase the chances that your business will achieve success. What are the Options? Quite often, very small businesses are organized under sole proprietorships. While sole proprietorships may be suitable for businesses that are exposed to only a minimal amount of risk, they are still not ideal because they offer no protection for their owners. If the company is the target of a lawsuit, the personal assets of the owner can be used to satisfy any judgment against the company. Another type of business formation that provides no asset protection for its owners is a general partnership. These are easy to form as they do not require any formal documentation. A potential risk of a general partnership is that a partner could use the partnership to borrow money. If that partner defaults on the loan, and the partnership cannot satisfy the debt, the other partner could be held responsible for repayment. Alternatively, a limited partnership offers some protection. Under a limited partnership, a general partner runs and manages the daily activities of the business. The general partner can be held personally liable for the company debts. The limited partner only provides funding for the partnership, with his or her risk only being the investment made in the business. It is also possible for a business to... read more

Buyout Agreements

For companies that are owned by more than one individual, forming a buyout (or buy-sell) agreement is an important part of protecting the business in the future. While it is not a necessary condition to business formation to have a buyout agreement, it is highly advisable. The future is unpredictable and, as a result, business owners need to have a plan in place in the event changes to ownership structure occurs. What is a Buyout Agreement? A buyout agreement is a binding contract between the owners of a company that controls the manner in which an owner may sell their interest in the company, as well as which individuals may buy that interest and the price they will have to pay. It is common to use prenuptial agreements as an analogy to buyout agreements. In other words, owners may plan to always own their interest in the company, but, in the event changes occur, the buyout agreement controls what will happen with that ownership interest. Ideally, buyout agreements will be formed at the formation of the business. Further, they are important whether the business is formed as a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, or even, in certain circumstances, a proprietorship. Some of the more common situations when buyout agreements become important include when a co-owner: Retires or wishes to leave the company; Files for bankruptcy; Becomes disabled; Goes through divorce and his or her ex-spouse will receive part or all of the interest in the company; or Dies. Why is this Important? Buyout agreements are important to help in avoiding disputes that may arise between remaining owners regarding whether... read more

Be Aware of Potentially Misclassifying Employees

One of the many issues that employers face is the possibility that individuals who perform work for the company are misclassified as independent contractors and not employees. In some instances, an employer may intentionally misclassify an employee in order to avoid having to provide the benefits to that person that employment confers. But, it is also possible that a relationship that an employer truly intends as non-employment will be deemed misclassified by the court. Therefore, it is important for employers to understand how the determination of whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor is made. Classifying Workers Generally speaking, there are two types of workers: independent contractors and employees. If a worker is not considered an employee, the employer can avoid having to provide the worker with the benefits that employees are entitled to. Some of these include overtime compensation, workers’ compensation, insurance, and family or medical leave. This can result in significant cost savings for the employer. But, it is important to correctly classify employees. There are many factors that affect whether a worker is considered an independent contractor or employee, with many of them relating to the amount of control the employer has over the worker. Specifically, these factors include, but are not limited to, the following: The amount of direction the employer has over how the worker completes the work; Whether the employer provides for training of the worker; Whether the relationship is exclusive or is it possible for the worker to perform similar work for other companies; Who is responsible for providing tools and supplies; and Whether the work is a key aspect... read more